Point-Counterpoint: Should people exercise with CrossFit routines? No

Training is too hardcore

Last summer, I went from training non-stop for 5K runs to lying on my cement porch at 1 a.m. under a sliding glass door. Apparently, if the top of glass doors aren’t screwed into the runners, they fall off the track when opened.

It may have been the dumbest way to acquire a concussion, but it led my doctor and my coach to ban me from any sort of training. Finally back on the trail, I started training with a four-mile run. When
we finished, my running partner gave me a half-glare, half-laugh. We had maintained a
7:40 pace for the entire run, when the goal had been to maintain an easy 8:45 and keep it conversational. We left the trail, joking that I should get a concussion more often.

However, back on the track the next day, when I was figuring out how long it would take me to get to a garbage can in case I needed to vomit, my coach disapprovingly pointed out that I had pushed myself too far.

Whether we run, lift or play a sport, we all like to push past our limits. We like the sense of
competition that gets us there.

But when does it become too much?

Like running or any other athletic pursuit, CrossFit, a “constantly varied, high-intensity,
functional movement,” has a sense of competition. However, this community might be taking it too far by pushing both athletes and amateurs alike to a physical breaking point.

“If you find the notion of falling off the rings and breaking your neck so foreign to you, then we don’t want you in our ranks. (CrossFit) can kill you. I’ve always been completely honest about that,” CrossFit founder Greg Glassman told The New York Times.

According to a 2013 study published by The Journal of Strength and Conditioning, 16 percent of 54 participants of a 10-week CrossFit program dropped out due to “injuries and overuse.” That’s an alarming number for one type of “sport.” These injuries vary from recoverable injuries like sore joints and skeletal misalignment, to more permanent injuries like tendonitis, torn rotator cuffs and slipped disks.

CrossFit faced scalding reports in the health section of publications such as Outside Magazine, Huffpost, Women’s Health and the Examiner. They also faced the blame for causing
rhabdomyolysis among participants. Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers
that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents, or myoglobin, into the bloodstream.
Myoglobin is harmful to the kidneys and often causes permanent damage. Currently six
cases of rhabdomyolysis have been reported among participants of CrossFit.

One of CrossFit’s unofficial mascots depicts an extremely fit clown attached to a dialysis machine, with his kidney ripped out on the floor in a pool of blood. Sad part is, CrossFit created the cartoon
not to scare people away from CrossFit, but instead to inform members that it is possible to
get hurt to this extreme when participating in the conditioning they provide.

But hey, like Glassman said, at least they’re being honest. This is not to say that the
only reason for injuries is CrossFit (I did get hit by a sliding glass door.) Regardless of the conditioning you choose or the type of athlete you are, there is always the chance of a
serious injury.

What concerns me is that CrossFit is providing the public with unsupervised workouts, no gym required. Participants can use what they have in their garage to complete the workout. This is concerning because, already faced with a dangerous form of conditioning, participants can now train
without a certified coach to point out bad form, or remind them to take a break.

It’s possible to get injured regardless of whether you are standing in one spot, playing a
sport or participating in a form of conditioning. I prefer to play it safe by working with a
certified coach or trainer, who is interested in my health and physical safety over one that is
perfectly fine with his form of conditioning killing me.